- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

BEND, Ore. (AP) - A coyote killing contest is scheduled this weekend in Eastern Oregon.

The event near Burns is called the JMK Coyote Hunt, and this year’s event is the eighth, the Bulletin newspaper of Bend (https://bit.ly/1dvTt98) reported Wednesday. Last year, 20 teams of hunters killed nearly 150 coyotes.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said such a commercial event would need a permit to be on land the agency manages.

Spokeswoman Tara Martinak said it hadn’t been aware of Freilino’s hunt, nor of a similar hunt last month sponsored by the Harney County chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association.

The contest entry fee this weekend is $200 per two-person team, and the winning team takes home half the total. The winner is determined by the number of coyotes killed, with ties broken by combined weight of the animals.

Organizer Duane Freilino says the contest will begin and end on private property, but where hunters go to kill coyotes is up to them.

“I don’t give them maps,” he said. “I don’t tell them where to hunt.”

Matt Ellibee, president of the chapter that sponsored last month’s hunt, said 21 teams competed. He wouldn’t say how many coyotes they killed.

“Ninety-five percent of our hunters all hunted private land,” he said.

Freilino predicted most hunters in the JMK Coyote Hunt would focus on private land.

The two sponsors said contests help control coyote numbers. The state doesn’t regulate hunting of the predators.

A Eugene environmental group, Predator Defense, argues that killing off coyotes, especially top males and females, just leads packs to produce more pups.

“There is really no place in modern society for this type of event,” said Brooks Fahy, the group’s executive director.

Predator Defense issued a press release Tuesday taking credit for bringing the hunt to the federal bureau’s attention.

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Information from: The Bulletin, https://www.bendbulletin.com

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